My soul languishes for your salvation; I hope in your word. Psalm 119:81
Jesus said, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples.” John 8:31
When I was six years old each of the children in our Sunday School class were given a Bible. The pastor of First Baptist Church in Cape Girardeau signed it, “W.T. Holland.” To receive a Bible at our church was a rite of passage of sorts. The intent was that we would learn to use it, read it, and be grounded in God’s word as young Christians.
There was another reason for giving us the Bibles. It would prove to be not only a ground of our faith, but it would engender in us a love for the Word of God and a respect for the Bible. In both cases the intent and hope was fulfilled. I did and still do read the Bible, look to God’s word to shape my faith, and have a great love for and respect for God’s Word.
There are plenty of people who mock Bible lovers. Some say the Bible is outdated, old fashioned, and worthy of no more than quaint curiosity. Very few of those who make that charge have read it or looked deeply at the message it contains.
Our staff recently considered one of the values we have identified as important to us at St. John: The Grace and Truth of Scripture. We looked as passages such as 2 Timothy 3:16-17; John 1:14-18; Psalm 119:105; and Hebrews 4:12. Important to this value is the fact that the Bible isn’t merely a collection of religious sayings or spiritual thoughts. It’s not just the ponderings of holy men or godly women.
The Bible, rightly understood, is a book of grace and truth. Grace that is centered in Jesus Christ and truth that is clearly declared in God’s word (cf. John 17:17). Grace makes truth palpable. Truth makes grace precious.
If we are to discern the fullness of God’s love and salvation we will learn, ponder, believe, and trust God’s word. If we are to be true disciples of Jesus we will not abandon that path. Jesus’ disciples will find truth and grace and overflowing refreshment for their souls – all through the precious words of the Bible.